A pill for every ill!

We hear the cry every day that the NHS swallows millions of pounds every day, the leaders lament that it can not be sustained in its present form and so on, I have just heard reported that there are millions of people hooked on tranquillisers, which were prescribed when they were going through a difficult period in their lives,but the prescriptions were never reviewed and they are as a result having therapy for their addiction.

What interested me most was a radio programme on R4 by Matthew Hill the medical correspondent from Bristol, he talks about how various human conditions get published in the media and then they become an illness;

“Are the intense feelings most people experience after the death of a loved one misery or melancholia? That is the ongoing debate, the result of which will have an impact on millions of people and our understanding of a fundamental human reaction.”

You can understand why I was interested in this programme ,apart from the fact that I know Matthew Hill who presented this programme, he has been the BBC’s medical correspondent for a long time.

The feelings are intense most of the time, there are days when I just lie in bed in the morning, listening to the silence in the house and quietly shed tears,before my day has even begun. And then once am up and engaged in my daily activities of living am, functional. There are days when am just fine, these must be the human emotions most of us go through. There is a common thread among all human beings as to how they deal with adversity in life.

So when does a common human condition stops being a passing phase in life and becomes an illness which requires medical intervention?

According to the documentary when “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – or DSM – is a book full of lists of symptoms, strange sounding names, codes and guidelines. It’s also a book that changes lives. Its champions say it is simply a system of classification, a diagnostic tool. Its critics claim it is more – it decides what is and isn’t a disease and that every time a new version is published an increasing number of people are labelled mentally ill.”

This sounds so alarming, the only beneficiaries are the pharmaceutical companies, who invent a pill for every ill! Today there is nothing which can not be “cured/controlled” with medication, as a result we give our bodies no chance to fight anything, our health service goes bankrupt and we are dependent on the pills we pop.

Of course there is need for medical interventions and treatments. When my husband was diagnosed with his cancer two years ago, due to his diagnosis he was bombarded with very heavy doses of Morphine. The result was he was taking them before he could feel any pain, his judgement was getting clouded and I could see his personality changing. Luckily in the Hospice I met a doctor who agreed with me and tried acupuncture on him. For the last two and half months of his life,he gave up the morphine or any other pain killer, he was pain free, and articulate to the end.

Am pleased that I could at least do this for him.

So without sounding like a new age/alternative therapy junkie I would like to ask you that do you think we are over medicated for everything?

Are we partly responsible for lining the coffers of the drug companies and bankrupting the NHS?

I wonder too!


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